Opinion Prone

My opinions, let me tell them to you.

I totally had a different entry planned (it is sitting half-finished in another window, haha, but I guess I’ll finish it tomorrow), but then I read that DOGS finally, finally got licensed! I don’t think there’s ever been another title I’ve been as excited to see get snatched though I’m not too sure why this is, lol… maybe because nothing else I read is so randomly underground and unknown. But really, I’m still surprised it took so long! DOGS’s first volume is standalone and has been out since 2001!

To be fair, I don’t think it’s actually all that popular in Japan, but it has a decent-sized overseas cult following online. The fact that Miwa Shirow decided to take four years off between the first volume and the second volume probably hurt also, and the fact that the second volume’s chapters still release rather irregularly is a really annoying factor. But his art is gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous, and while the story isn’t really all that original (it’s about people that’ve been experimented with and genetically enhanced in a post-apocalyptic-type world), it’s intriguing all the same. (Okay, so it gets extra points with me for having lycanthropy parallels too.) The characters are excellent and I think there’s someone for everyone to take to — the first volume details the basic stories of four main protagonists. They don’t really seem to have anything to do with each other at first, but their paths gradually converge at the end of the volume. I love stuff like that.

The second volume is where they really start interacting though, so I really hope Viz will also pick that up whenever Shirow finishes… But yeah, I’m really glad to finally hear that DOGS will be coming Stateside. And I’m kind of amused that Viz is the one getting it, though I shouldn’t be surprised. Viz has come to completely dominate the manga scene, just like FUNimation seems to be owning up the anime side. I mean, TOKYOPOP was their biggest rival, and they’re not even at SDCC! That’s an even worse signal of defeat than ADV’s pathetic presence at AX, and they’re not even pawning off their titles yet. Oh, well. Despite TOKYOPOP’s quick downward spiral, the rest of the manga industry seems to be doing okay. Del Ray and Broccoli are still upbeat, in any case.

Damn summer conventions are way too close together, and I don’t have time to talk about everything that gets announced. But anyway, tonight, I just wanted to shout the joy about DOGS finally getting noticed. I can’t wait to pick up my copy in April. :3 (Oh, hey… I just realized I haven’t reviewed this. I think I’ll have to go reread it soon and spit out a review!)

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  1. Brian on November 21, 2008 2:14 am

    Hey there! : )
    I too think Shirow’s art is really great, especially compared to his work on DMC. However… I was kind of bewildered by the fact that so many panels are left blank, or only have dialogue present. Thoughts?
    Haine and what’s his name definitely have a good dynamic. Maybe even slash worthy. lol. I appreciate it more for it’s dark undertones, and art, because it otherwise doesn’t seem to have a whole lot of depth. Or so I think. “Dark” tends to equal “good” for me. XD
    And I’d like to close with a quote:
    “Haine-chan! Save meeeeee!!!!” lol.

  2. Kiriska on November 21, 2008 2:20 am

    Yeah, I also think that Shirow’s art is the high point of DOGS. The floating dialogue and blank panels is just part of style, though it’s something that’s prominent in a lot of manga, especially compared to Western stuff. I don’t really mind, and think it’s an artistic choice more than anything else — floating dialogue removes the need to have page after page of talking heads, which isn’t very interesting anyway, and empty spaces leave room for thought. I always feel like he leaves spaces blank to let you take in some of what just happened, etc.

    Interestingly enough, Badou did once comment that his relationship with Haine “is not like that,” but I agree, they have potential, lol.

    DOGS as it is doesn’t show a lot of depth, but I think it has some serious potential, which is one of the reasons I like it so much. A lot of things they describe are subtle and it’s possible to read very far into what’s given. Whether or not they actually take advantage of all that potential remains to be seen, but I’ve not been disappointed yet. :)

  3. Brian on November 21, 2008 3:04 am

    That's an interesting take on the talking heads thing. Maybe it's just me, but it seemed like it was getting difficult to place the dialogue with a character in those empty panels? Maybe it was a translation issue? At some point I thought, given the quality of art and release dates, that the blank panels were just to save time. LOL. :P
    What I forgot to say in my previous comment is that it would be well suited for an anime, given it's highly stylized, and moody, imagery. Low and behold, you ranted about an anime release that I did not know about. lol. I'm not as obsessive as other anime peeps, but meh.
    I think I'm having a hard time placing potential themes in the story. Don't get me wrong, I'm really enjoying the diverse characters, AND it's dark humor. >; )
    My name is Brian. Nice to meet you! :D

  4. Kiriska on November 21, 2008 5:18 am

    Heh, funny you should mention the difficult-to-place dialogue — it’s something I’ve noticed a lot in comparing Japanese and American comics. The former tend to have very short balloon tails, if any at all, and you usually have to infer who’s speaking. Usually, I don’t think it’s all that hard, but I guess some contexts make it pretty ambiguous. American comics’ balloon tails almost always make a point to have a tail to the character speaking so there’s less guesswork, so I guess if you’re used to that, it’s a big jump? If blank panels were to save time, I’d like to think we could get more than a chapter every few months. XD

    Haha, well, the news of the anime just broke so it’s not a big surprise that you didn’t know. As for the story, I just think there are a lot of directions they could take it since so much is still a mystery. What happened to the world? How much experimentation has really gone on? Where/what/how is the government run and do they have anything to do with anything? Are there more details to each characters’ past and are they related in more ways than we already know, etc?

    Kiri, nice to meet you too. :O

    Just curious — how did you find my blog? I was really surprised to see a comment on such an old entry, especially if you didn’t follow it from my more current post about the anime?

  5. Brian on November 21, 2008 2:06 pm

    I’m currently learning japanese, so seeing as how they speak in context all the time, it makes sense that I couldn’t really follow along in DOGS. :P Why didn’t I think of that sooner? lol.
    You might be amused about how I found your blog, but here goes. I was trying to find this site that hosted all the chapters of DOGS so I wouldn’t have to download it. :P I never found it :( so I thought why not read some random person’s thoughts on the manga. And here we is!!! :D
    I enjoy your writing Kiri, and you’re a talented artist. Very nice work. : ) I’m glad I found your blog. Analyzing stories is a lot of fun. ; )

  6. Kiriska on November 23, 2008 12:41 am

    Haha, interesting way to find a blog. :P As far as I know, no one has all of DOGS hosted for online viewing, so you’ll just have to download them for now (of course, I’d also suggest buying Viz’s version when it comes out. ^^). The DOGS community is still pretty small, which is one of the reasons I was so surprised they got licensed in the first place and that they’ll have an anime soon now.

    Thanks for the compliments though. ^^ I don’t have too many people to discuss anime and manga with these days, so I figure, why not blog about it? (And write reviews that are obnoxiously long? :D)

  7. Brandon on December 25, 2008 3:15 pm

    In the tankoubon, all (or maybe just most) of the blank panels have been filled in with new artwork, and a fair amount of panels are redrawn. Seems like it’s just a deadline issue.

  8. Kiriska on December 25, 2008 7:57 pm

    I’ve heard that recently and find it pretty interesting that they’d even publish chapters with missing panels. I think it’s still possible to take them as artistic allowance in addition to Shirow’s notorious deadline skills. XD